Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada on Thursday ordered the city's six public hospitals to treat all injuries that might befall devotees of the Black Nazarene when they join the annual Traslacion in Quiapo on Monday.
"I'm assuring all Black Nazarene devotees that we are prepared to handle all types of emergencies. I have directed our hospital officials to render all necessary medical aid to anyone in need," he said.
In last year's Traslacion, two men died while more than 1,200 others suffered varying degrees of injury. During the procession, millions of devotees jostle each other to get closer to the image of the Black Nazarene which they believe to be miraculous.
Manila Health Department (MHD) chief, Dr. Benjamin Yson, said the six public hospitals will be on full alert to back up national hospitals, such as the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center (JRMMC), in handling procession-related injuries.
Manila's public hospitals are the Sta. Ana Hospital, Ospital ng Tondo, Ospital ng Sampaloc, Ospital ng Maynila Medical Center, Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center (GABMMC), and Justice Jose Abad Santos General Hospital.
Yson said they have already formed emergency medical teams.
The MHD, on the other hand, has also been tasked to spearhead the emergency medical response units at the Quirino Grandstand where the traditional 'Pahalik' will be held starting 5 p.m. on Sunday (January 8).
"We expect around two to three million people to go there from the afternoon of Sunday up to the early hours of Jan. 9 (Monday)," said Yson, who added that two medical teams of about 10 medical workers each will be there to assist. There will be doctors, nurses and paramedics to provide assistance, all veterans of vigil masses, he added.
The medical teams that will man the first aid stations will also have four ambulances for more serious cases that require hospital admission, he further said.
The Manila Police District (MPD) has earlier said it has established an Incident Command System (ICS) to deal with the huge crowd during the procession by placing on alert its entire 4,995-strong police force.
Source: Philippines News Agency